In this article, we will talk about why the LCS should make tweaks to their current format.
The LCS came up with a new format for this year featuring a lot of new additions and changes. The Lock-In was a good tournament at the start of the season. However, there are some glaring issues with some of the aspects of the current format that raise a few eyebrows. Let’s talk about that in greater detail.
The format featured a lot of different parts. The Lock-In to kick off the season, the Spring Split which leads to the Mid-Season Showdown. Then we moved onto the Summer Split which ends with teams facing off in the final playoff tournament called the LCS Championship.
While good in theory for the most part there are some problems with the format in itself. Let’s talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Lock-In was a success this year and most fans would somewhat agree that it was a good addition. The Lock-In serves as bragging rights and a pre-season for these teams to get them ready for the Spring Split. It’s also another way to get some hype into the season for the region. Hence, this is a good format in a vacuum and LCS should definitely keep it and possibly make it more attractive.
The Spring Split structure is fairly good although congested due to the Lock-In tournament, so that is not an issue. The Spring Split was competitive in a sense so format-wise it is solid. Also, the Mid-Season Showdown format mirrors other formats and it is well done with the upper and lower brackets.
A triple round-robin for the Summer Split does not make much sense given how the records are already cumulatively counted. For 8 weeks, it is far too many games for a team given it’s not a best of 3 and it does not really serve a purpose competitive-wise. The LCS should definitely take a look at this and tweak it to make it better.
While they do carry over the records from the past split, removing the championship points counting, and adding overall records feels a bit like a lateral move if not a downgrade. Some teams can perform poorly in Spring Split but it feels a bit punishing to some teams who can do very well in Summer. There are arguments that more games in Summer does offset the loss of the championship points but that is not a true solution. LCS should definitely look into this system.
Many can already tell what it is, this is definitely about the LCS Championship format. More exactly, the fact that 8 teams can play in it. That is fine for a league with 14 teams or more, or heck even 12 teams. However, for a league with 10 teams to have an 8 team tournament at the end of the split to qualify for Worlds is lunacy. There is no other way to explain it. It does not promote competitiveness for these teams at the bottom and they will get complacent and not try to improve. As long as this format exists, the LCS is not going to improve at all on the competition front.
Other Aspects That Are Affecting The Format
The competition level of the teams in the LCS is not helping the LCS format right now, particularly the Summer Split. With so many games in Summer and some of the teams looking poor, it’s not a good look for the league. This will make the league take a hit in terms of viewership and may actually decrease popularity based on perception from the fans.
Obviously, the LCS Championships format is also affected by this because of the level of play. There are other problems such as organization decisions and whatnots that affect the format but that is not the focus of the topic.
How Can LCS Improve The Format?
For starters, possibly hold the Lock-In Tournament earlier like China and Korea does theirs (such as the Demacia Cup and the KeSPA cup). That will definitely be a step in the right direction. Also, that way they can expand the Spring Split further and make it less congested for the teams.
The same can be said for the Summer Split, reducing the number of games could do them good. Reducing games would give the teams more prep time and more chances to improve. The other obvious change they should make is getting top 6 teams in the LCS Championship instead of 8 unless they increase the number of teams.
Perhaps bringing back Championship points to use, like every other region is doing, is going to be good. Different leagues have different ways of implementing it so taking a page off the other leagues could be good.
While the LCS was trying to be innovative with the format, some aspects worked, other aspects are not really working. It should be a good learning experience for them and they should definitely make tweaks to it. If not, things will not look well for the LCS competition-wise going forward.